People release small hot air balloons during the Tazaungdaing festival in Pyin Oo Lwin, Myanmar, November 6, 2022. (Photo by Myo Kyaw Soe/Xinhua)
The hot air balloon festival has made a comeback to Pyin Oo Lwin in Myanmar after a two-year hiatus, with more than 70 hot air balloons unveiled to celebrate the Tazaungdaing Festival of Lights on the full moon day of Tazaungmone.
YANGON, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) — Hot air balloons have returned to the skies over Pyin Oo Lwin, a scenic hill town in central Myanmar after a two-year hiatus.
On Monday night, the Pyin Oo Lwin Tazaungdaing Hot Air Balloon Festival was in full swing. This year’s five-day event kicked off last Friday, with more than 70 hot air balloons, as well as traditional dance and music performances and a sports competition.
The annual event to celebrate Tazaungdaing Traditional Lighting Festival has been canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event entered its final day on Tuesday. “This year, we only had about 40 days to prepare for the hot air balloon competition,” Kyaw Htay Ko, secretary of the Pyin Oo Lwin Tazaungdaing hot air balloon competition organizing committee, told Xinhua.
People release hot air balloons in Pyin Oo Lwin, Myanmar, November 6, 2022. (Photo by Myo Kyaw Soe/Xinhua)
Organizers and hot air balloon manufacturers used to prepare for the annual gala about six months in advance, according to the organizing committee.
“However, the number of balls competing in this year’s event is not much less than previous years’ competitions,” Kyaw Htay Ko said.
Hot air balloon teams participating in the event will be judged on aesthetics, teamwork, height reached and time in the air, he said.
The festival was launched in 2005. “It helps our city boost tourism and promote regional development and the economy,” he said.
Ko Maung Than, along with her baby girl, joined the competition at the Maha Ant Htoo Kan Thar hot air balloon site on a chilly Sunday evening.
“When hot air balloon season comes around, I can’t help but come here,” the 43-year-old said after releasing his team’s massive balloon with a series of image artwork of Buddha.
“We can’t buy enough diesel to power the hot air balloons this year, so we use the diesel mixed with turpentine,” Ko Maung Than said.
People attach small lanterns to a hot air balloon during the Tazaungdaing festival in Pyin Oo Lwin, Myanmar, November 6, 2022. (Photo by Myo Kyaw Soe/Xinhua)
Kyi Kyi, 20, with her friends, dressed in traditional costumes, performed traditional dances at the party.
“I am happy to participate in the traditional celebrations,” she said.
Previous editions of the festival have attracted tens of thousands of local and foreign visitors, said Ko Thu, a 35-year-old local resident.
“However, this year’s event did not see as many people as previous years’ celebrations,” he said, citing reasons including safety and health concerns.
According to the festival’s organizing committee, security has improved this year for the safety of visitors.
There are three types of hot air balloons flying during the festival, which are day balloons shaped like animals including elephants, birds, and polar bear, night balloons decorated with small lanterns, and night balloons loaded with lights. artifice.
People prepare small lanterns to attach to a hot air balloon during the Tazaungdaing festival in Pyin Oo Lwin, Myanmar, Nov. 6, 2022. (Photo by Myo Kyaw Soe/Xinhua)
FESTIVE ACTIVITIES ON FULL MOON DAY
Myanmar celebrates its Tazaungdaing festival on the full moon day of Tazaungmone to mark the end of the rainy season as well as the end of the Kathina season of Buddhist monks.
The full moon day of Tazaungmone, the eighth month of the Myanmar calendar, fell this year on Monday in the Southeast Asian country.
On the day of the full moon, Buddhist devotees and pilgrims thronged to pagodas across the country. A well-known traditional weaving contest known as the Matho Thingan contest was also held at famous pagodas.
Contestants wove beautiful decorative robes for Buddha statues on the eve of full moon day, and the teams producing the most beautiful robes were announced as the winners.
Woven robes were offered to Buddha statues in pagodas in the early hours of a full moon day.
As part of the celebrations, people also offered alms, candles, incense sticks, flowers and fruits in tribute to the pagodas.
As the Tazaungdaing Festival is known as the Festival of Lights, people across the country also light candles, oil lamps, lanterns, and colorful decorative bulbs in their homes at night.■